Policosanol and Cholesterol
Policosanol, a Natural-Born Cholesterol Fighter
Policosanol is a mixture of very-long-chain aliphatic alcohols purified from sugar cane wax whose main component is octacosanol. There is no strong evidence at this time that Policosanol helps lower cholesterol levels. The research has provided mixed results with some studies showing certain benefits while other studies claiming that Policosanol has no benefit in cholesterol management.
Doctors often prescribe drugs called statins for those with cholesterol levels above 200 mg. Many individuals are uncomfortable taking drugs to lower cholesterol and rather prefer to do so by diet and natural supplements. A while back a cholesterol-lowering drug called Baychol, promoted by Bayer Corporation, was removed from the market after it caused severe muscle damage and dozens of fatalities. Although statins are effective in lowering cholesterol levels, their long-term side effects are currently not fully known, and muscle damage due to statins is probably more common than many doctors realize.
Policosanol is a mixture of related compounds derived from the waxy portion of sugar cane. Eating small frequent meals, along with cold water fish, lots of vegetables, whole grains, beans, and peas, is helpful in lowering cholesterol levels. Those who are not able to reduce their cholesterol by diet and exercise alone may try Policosanol at 20 mg per day along with other nutrients mentioned at www.raysahelian.com/cholesterol.html such as fish oils and others.
Policosanol – The Debate goes on
German investigators report that Policosanol may not be effective to lower LDL cholesterol. Policosanol is an extract of the waxy coating of sugar cane and other plants, and multiple trials have demonstrated that it safely lowers lipid levels.. In an attempt to confirm their findings, Berthold, from the Drug Commission of the German Medical Association in Berlin, and his team performed a "rigorously controlled" multicenter study comparing Cuban sugar cane-derived policosanol with an inactive "placebo" supplement. The investigators report showed no significant differences among the groups in HDL ("good") cholesterol levels, total cholesterol, very low density-cholesterol, triglycerides, or lipoprotein.
Policosanol - Clinical Studies
The results of a new study provide more evidence that rice Policosanol -- a mixture of alcohols extracted from sugar-cane wax -- has favorable effects on serum lipids. In an 8-week study of 70 patients with very high cholesterol levels, 10 milligrams of rice Policosanol daily significantly reduced total cholesterol concentrations in plasma and increased apolipoprotein A1 -- a protein portion of "good" HDL cholesterol that carries cholesterol in the blood. The combination of high total cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol and low "good" HDL cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, they note in the paper. Lowering elevated total and LDL cholesterol through diet, exercise, and cholesterol-lowering drug therapy is beneficial. However, concerns regarding side effects of chemically derived cholesterol-lowering drugs have fueled interest in naturally derived agents, such as rice Policosanol. This compound has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol in, healthy volunteers, and in those with very high cholesterol levels.
The current findings from Reiner and colleagues support rice Policosanol’s favorable effects on serum lipids. Compared with placebo, Policosanol for 8 weeks significantly lowered plasma total cholesterol from 7.37 to 6.99 mmol/L and increased Apo A1 from 1.49 to 1.58 mmol/L, Reiner and colleagues report. In this brief study, however, the researchers could not prove a significant reduction in triglycerides or LDL cholesterol or increase in HDL cholesterol with Policosanol, as has been shown in other studies. It may be that the dose of Policosanol used (10 milligrams daily) was too low and the duration of the study was too short, the authors offer. There were no side effects from Policosanol therapy. Reiner and colleagues conclude that further study of rice Policosanol as a potentially natural cholesterol-lowering aid is warranted.
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